List Film

Charlie Bartlett (3 stars)

(15) 96min

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Charlie Bartlett

DRAMA

In a crafty move that befits its wheeler-dealer anti-hero, teen comedy Charlie Bartlett arrives on the coat-tails of the highly publicised Iron Man, which also features Robert Downey Jr. The star gives a pleasing supporting performance here as an officious school principal who opposes every move made by Charlie (Anton Yelchin), a troubled kid freshly ejected from his local prep school. Charlie’s a joker who manufactures fake IDs and deals his prescribed anti-depression drugs to his classmates, craving popularity and the acceptance of his peers to compensate for a fractured family life.

Similarities to Wes Anderson’s considerably superior Rushmore are undeniable but in the hands of established comedy film editor turned director Jon Poll and first-time writer Gustin Nash, Bartlett’s struggle with authority comes into sharp and engaging focus. But unlike Bill Murray’s loveable cad, Downey Jr’s principal is characterised only by his over-zealous resolve to protect his daughter Susan (Kat Dennings), a move that robs Bartlett’s Holden Caulfield via Ferris Bueller brand of teenage rebellion of any wider social resonance. An amusing enough take on the agonies of youth, Charlie Bartlett deserves a B plus for effort.

Selected release from Fri 9 May.

Charlie Bartlett

  • 3 stars
  • 2007
  • UK
  • 96 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Jon Poll
  • Written by: Gustin Nash
  • Cast: Anton Yelchin, Kat Dennings, Robert Downey Jr, Tyler Hilton, Hope Davis

Teenager Charlie's a joker who manufactures fake IDs and deals his prescribed anti-depression drugs to his classmates, craving popularity to compensate for a fractured family life. Whilst robbed of any wider social resonance, this is an amusing enough take on the agonies of youth, and 'Charlie Bartlett' deserves a B+ for…

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